Atlanta author Jana Oliver writes an award-winning young adult fantasy set in an alternate Atlanta and featuring the Atlanta Demon Trappers Guild. A Dragon*Con regular, Oliver sat down with The Daily Dragon to discuss her books.
Daily Dragon (DD): Can you give readers a quick description of this series?
Jana Oliver (JO): It puts a 17-year-old young lady, Riley Blackthorne, in the middle of the grand battle between heaven and hell. I’ve always wanted to look at that chess game. It’s like the CIA and the KGB during the Cold War. One makes a move and the other makes a countermove.
DD: For those who haven’t read the series, what’s the story arc to date?
JO: In the first book, The Demon Trapper’s Daughter, Riley’s father dies early, leaving her an orphan and increasing the pressures in her life. She now has to make a living, to prove that, as a girl, she can do as good a job as the guys in the Guild. Some of the guys don’t feel a girl should be in the dangerous profession. They’re protective. Some think she can’t handle the job, while others feel this is just not a job for a female.
In the second book, Soul Thief, Riley has come under the scrutiny of some of the denizens of hell. They’d like to claim her soul, so she’s really between heaven and hell.
The battle between heaven and hell finally comes to Atlanta in the third book, Forgiven, with Riley the person who has to prevent Armageddon. As if that weren’t enough, her dad has been reanimated by a necromancer, and she’s trying to get him back in his grave.
The last book, Foretold, will be a December 2012 release, so I’d rather not go into what that’s about just now.
DD: You wrote another series before this one, didn’t you?
JO: Yes, the Time Rovers. They were Victorian urban fantasy. I put a time traveler in Victorian England with the Ripper murders as a backdrop.
I also got to work with a new type of shapeshifter. My Transitives don’t shift but can make people perceive them as whatever the Transitives wish. You never knew who you were looking at. This added a new level of uncertainty for the heroine because she never knows who she’s talking to.
DD: You’ve won a lot of awards for your two series, haven’t you?
JO: The Time Rovers won 12 awards, including the Prism Award for Time Travel and the Daphne du Maurier for Mystery/Suspense. The Demon Trapper’s Daughter won the Prism for Young Adult.
DD: How many years have you been coming to Dragon*Con?
JO: This is my 11th year, and it’s always great.
DD: What advice would you have for aspiring writers?
JO: I like the phrase “committed persistence.” Just refuse to give up. Keep practicing every day. If it takes you five years or 10 years or 20 years, you should continue writing every day. If this business is in your gut and you have to keep writing, you’ll eventually succeed.